Dressing Up Denim

You’ve been invited to a party. The invitation calls for dressy casual. You have both dressy outfits and casual outfits in your closet but how do you mix the two? This gets my creative juices flowing and it’s where I have the most fun with my clients!

Would you be surprised if I suggested you start with jeans? Jeans aren’t right for every occasion, but with some fashion finesse, you can make them party ready.

Pretend I’m in your closet right now. Using your jeans as a base, I’m going to help you look through your tops, jackets, jewelry, shoes, and handbags for ingredients that will make you party-ready.

When you see your wardrobe through my eyes, you’ll be surprised at how effortless combing the two can be for a last-minute party invite. No stress dressing.

It all starts with the right jeans

Here’s a guideline for the best jeans to use for your casual chic or elegant casual outfit.

  1. The darker the denim, the dressier and more formal it is, which works well with the fancier items you’ll be wearing on top.
  2. If your party leans more to casual than elegant and you love jeans that are distressed in some way—holes or fading—plan to wear a dressy shoe.
  3. High-rise jeans are a great base. They’ll look great with any fanciful top or jacket.
  4. You could start with a denim jean that is coated, so it takes on a different hue. Or consider a jean with some elegant embroidery.
  5. Beware: dark indigo jeans can discolor lighter-colored leather handbags. Pay close attention to your handbag selection for the night. They can also stain any part of a lighter-colored bootie that they come into contact with.

 

Find unique jackets in your closet

Now let’s get to what you’re wearing on top. Jackets can play a crucial role in dressing up jeans. Leave your work jackets out of the mix for now. Focus on more festive choices and think outside the box.

This list of jacket styles will love to dress up your denim.

  1. Statement pieces like kimonos, dusters, Asian-inspired jackets, or vintage bed jackets
  2. Blazers in velvet, leather, lace or jacquard prints
  3. A tuxedo jacket
  4. Knit or woven jackets with fur trim
  5. A heavily embroidered or quilted jacket

 

Tops that are just right for going out

Look at your tops through a ‘dressed up casual’ lens. Do you spot tops that you may have worn in other parts of your life, but that would look well accessorized for denim outfits?

Here are some looks to consider.

  1. Blouses with statement sleeves like ruffles, ties, pleats, or ribbons
  2. Romantic blouses with lace or leather trim.
  3. A knit or woven or top in a bold, bright print
  4. A sheer print top with a camisole or bustier underneath
  5. A sweater with pearl or sequined details, or a cashmere sweater that is delicate or feminine

 

Jewelry selection is a must

If you’re wearing simple clothing pieces, then your jewelry choices will lift your outfit into a dressy casual party scene. Go beyond your tried-and-true everyday pieces. Consider vintage or crystal jewelry or any of your fine jewelry like diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and pearls.

If you’re wearing tops that are already sequined or jeweled, then your jewelry may need to back off a little.

Here are some ideas for using accessories to make your outfit sparkle and shine.

  1. Chandelier earrings or dangly earrings
  2. Statement necklaces or double or triple layered chokers
  3. A sparkly brooch or a collection of pins worn together
  4. Bold cocktail rings, rings on many fingers, or stacks of rings on a finger or two
  5. Cuffs or layered bangles that have lots of shimmer and shine
  6. Mixing in fine jewelry with costume jewelry

 

Shoes matter, both functionally and fashionably

You may have shoes in your closet that will only work if you’re sitting at a table, rather than standing at a table all night. Be careful. Know whether a two-hour shoe will work or whether or not you need to wear a shoe that you can dance in all night long.

Here are some shoe choices for nightlife.

  1. High heels or kitten-heeled pumps in patent leather, exciting colors, or fabrics
  2. Comfortable flats that have fanciful details like bows, sequins, ribbons, or applique
  3. Metallic flats or booties
  4. Velvet slippers, flats or booties
  5. Heeled sandals

 

Handbags need to be a lot more special than your workbag

For many gatherings, the purse you choose only needs to hold your lipstick, a credit card, some cash, and your smartphone. You may have cocktail handbags that you’ve used for years. I encourage you to take a closer look at them this year. Do they still look viable or does yours need an update?

Here are some handbag selections for your jean party outfit.

  1. Smaller crossbody bag with chain straps
  2. Fabric bags made with beautiful tapestry or damask fabrics
  3. Small framed bags including vintage bags
  4. A small handbag in an intense color or a metallic
  5. Hard, rather than soft, clutch in faux reptile

 

Could you use a few fancy casual denim outfits in your wardrobe? I’d love to help you assemble them, so you are party ready at any moment. Or maybe you’ve realized some gaps in the “party department” of your wardrobe. Let me help you discover them. We can set up an appointment and get this party started. Call me!

 


How to Crack the Dress Code on Event Invitations

 

Has a wedding or event invitation ever left you confused as to what to wear? Themed events and parties are on the rise; Great Gatsby, Disco Glam or Back to the 80’s just to name a few!

These decade-themed parties are pretty straight forward, encouraging a guest to go ‘all out’ in an outfit or costume. Weddings, cocktail parties, galas, fundraisers and New Year’s Eve can be a bit trickier to decipher the language on the invitation. Here’s how to crack the code so you’ll never feel over- or under-dressed again:

Wedding Attire Etiquette

First rule of thumb: as a guest at a wedding, remember that today is ALL about the bride! The beautiful bride is the star, so dress and act accordingly. Although wearing black is no longer considered a faux pas, white should absolutely be avoided. Every religion and culture has customs and traditions; when attending a wedding outside your own culture, reach out and ask for specific guidelines. Your host will appreciate it and you will feel so much more comfortable!

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“Dressing well is a form of good manners.”

Tom Ford

Black Tie

This indicates a very formal event and usually means it is an evening affair.

For him: A tuxedo, a black bow tie, a cummerbund, and patent leather shoes.

For her: A long evening gown or a chic cocktail dress.

Formal or Black Tie Optional

This event is slightly less formal but still suggests dressing accordingly.

For him: A dark suit or tuxedo; conservative, not flashy.

For her: A long dress, chic cocktail dress, or dressy separates.

Semi-formal / Smart Casual / Dressy Casual

This one is a lot trickier to decipher! Take cues from the time of year and time of day during which the wedding or event is being held.

For him: A suit – light or dark, depending upon the season; colourful, trendy shirts and ties. A vest can also be worn as an alternative to a suit jacket.

For her: A cocktail dress, maxi dress, skirt with a top, or dressy pants and a blouse.

Beach Formal

This suggests an elegant beach wedding, so dress to impress while still keeping sand and exposure to sun in mind.

For him: A summer suit with a linen shirt (no ties required), linen pants or khakis, and sandals.

For her: A maxi dress, a lightweight summery cocktail dress or a dressy sundress, and sandals.

Casual

Consider the purpose of the event when deciding what to wear! Jeans, t-shirts, and shorts are acceptable when a casual dress code has been indicated for a friend’s birthday BBQ or a Euchre tournament at the community centre. When it comes to attending a “casual” wedding, unless specified as acceptable on the invitation, steer clear of jeans and shorts!

For him: Dress pants, chino with button-down shirt or polo shirt.

For her: Dress, skirt and top, or a blouse with dress pants.

When in doubt, remember this advice from Karl Lagerfeld:

“One is never over-dressed or under-dressed with a Little Black Dress.”

Do you have questions about what to wear to your next special event? Schedule a complimentary Style Success Session with me!


The Difference a Year Can Make – Lessons in Life AND Business

On August 31st, 2015, I officially handed over the keys to the new owner of my day spa. That day was a weird experience. I was excited, full of anticipation of how my new career/business would unfold and develop. At the same time, I was sad to say goodbye to so many great clients, memories of how it all began, the good times, and funny stories that had happened there over the years. It was a day of mixed emotion.

The sale of my day spa is just one component. My family and I also relocated to a new town in June 2015, leaving behind great friends and a community I loved dearly.

For those of you getting these newsletters and following me on social media, you can agree: WOW a lot can happen in a year!! I have been blessed to moved into a great new community, launch a new career, make new friends, etc… you see the highlight reel. All the good stuff.

There has been lots of talk lately on how the “highlight” reel on social media feeds can actually make us feel bad about ourselves.

Yearcollage

Maybe you are anxious to get engaged and start a family, and while you seemingly wait patiently by the sidelines and nudge your boyfriend to buy the ring, everyone else you know seems to be getting married or having their first baby. UGH it isn’t fair: when will it be my turn?! you think.

Are you struggling to make ends meet financially, and it’s depressing to see posts of friends traveling the world, going to exotic places or even having a dinner out? I mean sure, you are happy for them, but you deserve it too!

I am one of the most upbeat, positive, happy people I know, and yes – this past year has been marvelous, but I have also had struggles. As an entrepreneur, I can tell you it is a roller coaster ride with many ups and downs.

I choose to show my highlight reel on social media: all the good stuff, the celebrations of my hard work and perseverance.

What you didn’t see is me sobbing uncontrollably driving away (and for hours after!) from appointment with the lawyers to close our previous home. We carried both homes for 4 months and I didn’t realize how much emotion this would bubble up. The finality, knowing I couldn’t just pop up the road to my friend’s house for an impromptu tea and a chat. I felt fear of the unknown.

I began online certification courses in September 2015. Every day for the first month my husband would come home for lunch and I would be waiting for help, frustrated and ready to throw the computer out the window! The course load itself was fine; it was my incompetency with computer programs I had never needed to use before that was literally driving me crazy! I felt inadequate and stupid.

Same goes for joining a tug of war team, as well as a ladies dance troupe, to meet new people. I felt clumsy and awkward.

Heck, even the grocery store was set up differently to my old one. EVERYTHING was new and I was a novice at it all. My normally adventurous self was taking a beating, and it wasn’t pretty.

And for the first time in 28 years I felt lost. By December my courses were complete, Christmas shopping was done, and my business was not yet launched, so I was client-less and stir crazy! In previous years, I would have been running around the spa like a chicken with its head chopped off by that time – crazy busy and exhausted while wishing for it to end. Be careful what you wish for!

I felt lost and frightened. My confidence faltered and I began to second guess myself. Some days I only drew comfort knowing I could cook a good meal and keep a tidy home.

I am persistent if nothing else!

Every day, I woke up determined to keep on going. I soldiered on, and slowly but surely everything became easier: I was getting better! My confidence returned and the adventure became fun.

My persistent nature, consistency with executing “the plan”, and willingness to try new things, whether in business or pleasure throughout this last year, is what has brought all the cool, new opportunities into my life.

My motto – feel the fear and do it anyways!

Guess what?

  • I have made new friends and maintained friendships with many whom I care so much about and we still get together for tea… the only difference now is we just have to plan ahead!
  • I have gained new clientele from across Canada/U.S.A. and stay in touch with some former clients through Facebook/email, or get a big hug if we bump into each other at the mall!
  • I can now troubleshoot many of the computer techy issues myself!
  • My tug of war game has improved and it will continue to be a work in progress.
  • Over 600 people, over 3 nights, paid to watch me dance in a community fundraiser with the ladies dance troupe! What a blast!
  • I easily maneuver through the local grocery store these days and despite clumsily knocking over an entire aisle display of birthday candles, I became friends with the owners who had a good chuckle that day!

My mission or personal mandate when I launched this business, began blogging and creating buzz on social media, was to be a woman first and an Image Coach second. To some this may seem a backward approach in growing a profitable business, but I am passionate about creating a community where women empower women. To see higher potential in yourself, to inspire action or to love yourself in this moment today while on the journey to becoming the next version of you!

What I know for sure is we are all more alike than different. We all have the ups/downs in life, it depends if you decide to tackle them or let them tackle you that dictates your outcome and future.

Cheers to all of us in the game, ready to rumble and make our dreams come true!

Remember that you are beautiful!


3 Fun Ways to Update Your Style without Spending a Cent!

Do you wake up in the morning, stare into your closet and just feel blah because all you can think is ‘same old clothes, same old style?’

Nothing excites you about getting dressed for work anymore, and let’s not even talk about a night out on the town! Night after night, you watch those reality TV shows and wish you were one of those lucky women getting the complete makeover you crave and deserve. Top that off with having to pay for the kids’ extracurriculars, a broken down car, and the rising costs of just about everything – the mere idea of going on a shopping spree to freshen up your ‘look’ is out of the question.

Sound familiar?

Too often, women get lost in the everyday shuffle of family life and responsibilities, leaving their own needs for last. Are you guilty of delaying an already overdue haircut because your youngest has outgrown his soccer cleats?  Or eyeing that beautiful cocktail dress in your favourite store during the holidays, but opting to wear the same dress you’ve worn the last 2 years to the office party because, well… it’s the holidays and the bank account is depleting fast enough.

Don’t despair! I can help.

Here are some easy, fun tricks to update your style, and you don’t have to break the bank to do it!

1. There’s more than one way to wear your hair.

Unless your hair is super cropped (I’m talking Demi Moore in GI Jane or Britney Spears’ rage-induced buzz cut of 2007), you should be able to wear it a couple different ways.

Believe me! It’s possible.

During your next visit to the salon, ask your stylist to show you some easy ways to style your current cut differently. Sure, it may require a different styling product and feel awkward the first few tries, but don’t get caught up with trying to have every hair perfectly in place. If, for some reason, your stylist is unable to assist with this, it might be time to shop for a new stylist!

2. Play dress-up!

Remember as a child how fun it was to play dress-up? To sneak into your mother’s or your sister’s closet and having fun trying on their clothes and shoes, layering their jewels like you were the Queen of England? Embrace that inner child again!

Set the stage: don’t attempt play time when you’re on a time constraint. Give yourself at least a couple of hours to “play.”

Next, turn on some music – music that you love, music that makes you want to dance (and you might!). Have some fashion magazines or your favourite Pinterest boards handy for style inspiration. Also have a full-length mirror available and do your hair and make-up beforehand.

Now it’s time for the real fun to begin. Pull out everything from your closet! I’m talking clothes, shoes, purses, jewelry – and start playing.

Most often, we reach for the same outfits – thus creating those “style ruts” we find ourselves in – so begin with just one of your favourite pieces of clothing and start dressing it up with items you don’t wear as often. Look to your inspiration pictures and don’t be afraid to be silly and creative. Untuck, tuck, wrap, twist, layer, add a belt…I guarantee you that at least a couple new outfits will come from this experiment and, better yet, you don’t even have to open your wallet!

For a real-world example of this “playing dress-up” technique in action, check out these pictures of my client, Yvonne. Together, we created a whole new look for her from items already in her closet – no trip to the mall required!

Yvonne1 Yvonne2 Yvonne3 Yvonne4

3. Host a clothing swap party!

Personally, I like any night out that involves good friends, wine, and potluck appetizers.

Instead of spending any money, host a “swap party” where friends bring gently worn clothes, shoes, handbags and accessories that they would otherwise donate.

Try to set up in advance to display the items – think boutique second-hand store. Once ladies arrive, everyone can mingle, try things on, and have some fun.

Set a limit, though, to make sure things are fair. For example, if you bring 3 items you can shop for up to 3 items – unless by the end of the night there are still items left. If any items remain after everyone has gone home, these can easily be donated to your preferred charity.

I know what you’re thinking – everyone is different shapes and sizes. Don’t underestimate the value of coming away with some cool accessories! Often it’s the little things that make the biggest difference.

If, after you’ve tried these 3 easy tricks, you’re still feeling like you have nothing to wear, it’s time to call in an expert for support. Book a complimentary Style Success Session with me here and let’s get you out of that rut!